Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hailey man charged with cocaine trafficking

Suspect was zapped with a taser when arrested

Express Staff Writer

Roberto Bernabez

A man who Hailey police zapped with a taser when they arrested him was arraigned Monday on a Blaine County grand jury indictment charging him with trafficking in cocaine.

Roberto Bernabez, a 30-year-old Hailey man, appeared in court in orange jail garb. He has been incarcerated since his July 5 arrest on $75,000 bond.

"It is alleged that this offense involved delivery of 28 ounces of cocaine," Judge Robert J. Elgee said at Monday's arraignment. He further advised Bernabez that the offense is punishable by up to life in prison and carries a minimum sentence of three years behind bars.

Bernabez pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial, which was set for Sept. 30.

Hailey police shot Bernabez with a taser when he was allegedly uncooperative when confronted by police on McKercher Boulevard in Hailey near its intersection with Buttercup Road. A taser is a hand-held instrument that can be applied directly or can fire probes. Either means of application delivers a high-voltage electrical shock.

Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter said his officers were particularly cautious with Bernabez because he had allegedly made previous threats "that he would kill one of our officers if he had a chance."

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